Looks are everything. No really, they are. We’re obsessed with dating apps, with snapping selfies in any state of undress, or gym workout, with showing off tanned abs and toned butts… yep, in 2017, looks are everything.
As for gay men, there appears to be even more pressure to look as if recently emerged from the deep end of the gene pool. While gay men come in every shape and size, gay culture and iconography is awash with body fascism.
Perhaps it’s time to challenge the poster boy look that excludes so many?
As soon as dating digitally took over our fingers and thumbs, looks have become the only reason to swipe left or right. Glowing personality or not, a hot man with a ‘less is best’ attitude to clothes reigns supreme; witty, eloquent profile be damned. I’ve seen the apps, I’ve seen the pics, I’ve seen the pace of swipes, and nary a profile read.
And if you want to attract a hot bod, you’ve got to have a hot bod. Like attracts like; those are just the rules.
We don’t have to look far on the Internet to discover that the words ‘fat’ and ‘gay man’ are not sentence bedfellows. To be fat is to be not gay, and to be gay is to be not fat… or so we have been lead to believe.
New York City ‘It’ Boy Simon Doonan smashed it with an ode to French Women Don’t Get Fat in his 2012 best seller, Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, where “the gays are the chosen people” who do everything they can to “live every day feeling their best”. And while of course, in part a parody, Doonan delivers his home truths that gay men and fat men can not possibly be one in the same.
And as the glitter settles after Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras this March, the most indelible memory etched on the brains of party-goers will likely be the sea of sweaty chests as far as they eye can see. While apps might have been ditched for the night, body beautiful was still boss.
But at what cost is all this to our collective self esteem and body image?
With so much pressure to look good all of the time, to have that silky smooth six-pack and a booty that just won’t quit, are people parking ‘being happy’ in the pursuit of ‘being perfect’? This is exactly the BS women have been dealing with for eons, and now gay men too? This can’t be happening!
What happened to simply being happy and healthy? Of loving ourselves and each other, whatever body we’re in? And more importantly, while we’re distracting ourselves with self-loathing as we work harder and harder to achieve that Greek God bod, what are we not doing in our personal, professional and political spheres?
This is the same billion-dollar industry that has distracted, and continues to distract, women away from the big issues since the birth of advertising. The all pervasive ‘you are not enough’ message.
It’s up to all of us to tear down the constraints of body beautiful, to let go of the unattainable manorexic body, to change the dominant body perfect illusion prevalent in the media, and turn self-loathing of the skin we’re in, into a celebration of the life we’re in. Are you ready to create change?